Archive: Cathy

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There are days in the comics blogging business when I really know that I’ve made it. Today, for instance, I was one of surely only a few hundred people on the Universal Press Syndicate’s email distribution list chosen to receive a very important email with the following subject line:

AACK! After 34 Years, Cathy Comic Strip Bids Farewell

Read all about it here, assuming you enjoy reading interviews with Cathy Guisewite in PDF format, and who doesn’t, really.

Obviously, a long-running strip like Cathy can’t just go away without a big to-do. But with the strip’s formerly chronically single title character now married off, and the October 3 end date too close for her to finally poop out a baby, we have to ask ourselves what the bang of an ending will be. Since Cathy was a pioneer depiction of a working woman, we suggest that she get with the times: heartless layoff, followed by workplace spree killing, concluding with suicide by cop.

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Archie, 7/13/10

Archie takes a break today from typical teenage whimsy to explore Riverdale’s grim economics. Lazy layabout Jughead can’t maintain the income necessary to fund his burger habit; Archie, who is marginally more employable and may be writing himself checks from the checkbook stolen from Mr. Lodge’s desk, has agreed to float his friend enough cash to keep him fed, but at significant interest rates — and now those debts are coming due. Terrified at Archie’s suddenly revealed violent side (he’s holding a gun in his left hand in panel three, just out of our field of vision), Jughead seeks out “Pop,” his substitute father figure, coming up with some feeble excuse to try to beg for shelter and protection without Archie noticing. But we can see from his rage in panel two that, if Jughead can’t afford his greasy diner food, Pop wants nothing to do with him, and in panel three he shows that he wants no part of this scene. Jughead will be lucky to escape Archie’s implacable wrath with only a missing thumb or two.

(Seriously, though, if someone could explain to me what’s actually supposed to be happening here, I’d sure appreciate it.)

Apartment 3-G, 7/13/10

Speaking of sudden turns to grimness, I Dressed In The Dark is beginning to look less like What Not To Wear and more like a reality-show version of 24, with the sadistic Mama Kat taking the role of the chief torturer. The girls will submit to her aesthetic demands, no matter how many beatings she has to dish out. But the once bickering roommates will come together now that they’re literally under attack from outsiders; naturally, Margo has taken a leadership role, and she’s demonstrating exactly why, for all her faults, you want her on your side in times of trouble. I look forward to this battle of implacable wills!

Mark Trail, 7/13/10

You might think that Mark Trail owning a cell phone is terribly anachronistic for this strip. The police officer certainly does, based on his puzzled expression in the final panel (“Hey, my uniform indicates that I just arrived here from 1965, and this freak is talking into some tiny sci-fi gadget!”). Still, you have to admit that a mobile phone really allows Mark to ignore the feelings of the people around him, as is his wont. “Excuse me while I take this call … Hi, honey, what’s up? No, I’m not busy, there’s just some old lady here weeping about how they’re going to take away the only things that make her life worth living, some crap like that, I dunno.” Cherry’s glad to be able to get a hold of Mark now, but she’ll regret it when she realizes that with his new phone he doesn’t even have to return home from a romantic horseback ride to get a call from his editor Bill Ellis that will take him out of range of her clumsy seduction attempts.

Dennis the Menace, 7/13/10

Dennis the Menace the character may no longer be menacing, but today’s Dennis the Menace the cartoon panel was apparently menacing to the colorists, who decided that trying to render the vibrating Mitchells in color using the Photoshop tools at their disposal wasn’t worth the effort. This in no way makes up for the fact that the whole “joke” here is that Dennis belched forth a punny malapropism. That’s the sort of thing that Jeffy Keane does, Dennis. Do you want to be like Jeffy Keane?

Cathy, 7/13/10

We interrupt our usual studied ignorance of Cathy to note that today’s “punchline” contains the phrase “poop bags.” We now return you to our usual refusal to acknowledge Cathy’s existence.

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Marmaduke, 10/21/09

As you may have noticed, many comics are earnestly pushing a pro-volunteering agenda this week, with results that range from the “so irritating that even people who like volunteering will come to view it with scorn” (Luann) to “so cynical that they seem to be actually making fun of the very concept of helping one’s fellow citizens” (Archie, Wizard of Id). Probably the best of the lot is today’s Marmaduke, in which the titular hell-beast takes some time out from burying the bones of his victims to help his serial killer neighbor prep some backyard graves.

Mark Trail, 10/21/09

You know, Mark Trail has always been kind of David Lynchian, but things seems to be accelerating this week. I missed it Monday when a word balloon clearly containing dialogue for Bob emerged from the head of Mr. Sinister Sideburns; today, the same phenomenon recurs. Is Rusty just passing the time in the swamp by practicing his ventriloquism? Is “Rusty” just one Mark’s many personalities, and panel one a brief hint of the real world of Mark Trail, in which an isolated man spends days nattering on to nobody in particular? Or is the whole universe of the strip simply collapsing, with the very identities of the various characters becoming increasingly fluid as their reality dissolves into nothingness? The last possibility would explain the ominous, world-consuming mist pooling around Mark and Rusty’s feet in the final panel.

Cathy, 10/21/09

To Westerners, one of the most striking aspects of Hindu deities is that they are portrayed with more than the usual complement of limbs. Now, most Hindus do not in fact believe that, say, Vishnu is a blue-skinned man with four arms; rather, since arms and hands are the methods that humans use to impose their will on the world, the depiction of Vishnu as four-armed represents his power, which is beyond that of mortals. The characters in Cathy are also occasionally portrayed with many arms, and by analogy I have always taken this to be metaphorical, generally representing their flailing, desperate, and ultimately fruitless attempts to control themselves or the world around them. Today, however, we learn that they are in fact literally becoming monstrous, tentacled hell-beasts — and frankly not a minute to soon when it comes to piquing my interest in future developments in this feature.

Gil Thorp, 10/21/09

So Duncan Daley has spent this fall storyline by turns refusing to drink, brooding manfully, and injuring his fellow football players in uncontrollable bursts of rage. And today, the big reveal: he’s doing it all because his brother’s in prison, which makes total sense. “Gah, I told Danny I’d be in jail in time to celebrate his birthday with him! How many people do I have to maim before they lock me up?”